From private jets to superyachts, here's how the rich and famous are influencing the climate

AAs Americans bear the brunt of heat waves, multi-year drought and devastating floods, celebrities have been criticized for their extravagant lifestyles and apparent disregard for the ongoing climate crisis.

The Los Angeles times reported on Monday that performers including Kim Kardashian and Sylvester Stallone were among more than 2,000 people to whom the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District issued “excess notices,” warning homeowners that they had used more than 150 percent of their its monthly water budget at least four times since a drought emergency was declared just last year.

And a recent report by Yard, a UK-based sustainable marketing agency, analyzed flight data of the celebrities with the worst emissions from private jets. Taylor Swift topped the list with more than 170 flights since January, totaling up to 15.9 days in the air and 8,293.54 metric tons of CO2 emissions – that’s equivalent to all the emissions from the energy used by more than 1,000 US homes in a year .

Representatives for Swift, as well as other celebrities, have since denied the allegations, saying their planes were loaned to others or that the individuals in question did not own them. And Stallone’s attorney said the water situation was “mischaracterized” because Stallone was trying to ensure he could keep more than 500 mature trees on the property alive.

In light of this, environmentalists are calling for tighter restrictions on such wasteful habits as private air and sea travel β€” which, thanks in part to pandemic travel restrictions, are becoming increasingly popular. Canada, for example, recently announced that it would introduce a new 10% tax on luxury jets and yachts effective September 1, which is partly intended to reduce the climate impact of these activities.

Here’s what you need to know about the climate impact of the ultra-rich’s favorite forms of luxury travel.

What is the impact of a private jet on the climate?

Aviation produces just under one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which accounts for 2.5% of global CO2 pollution.

But while aviation remains a major contributor to the climate crisis, a small number of people are responsible for much of the impact. In the United Kingdom, studies in 2013 and 2014 found that only 15% of adults were responsible for 70% of the flights. And according to the Clean Transport Campaign Group Transport and environment10% of all flights departing from France in 2019 were private jets.

Read more: Matt Damon wants you to take care of the water

This is compared to a January Gallup poll which found that the average American took 1.4 airplane trips in the past 12 months, with 62% taking no trips at all.

The average person produces about 7 metric tons of CO2 per year. Meanwhile, celebrities have averaged more than 3,300 metric tons from their private jets alone so far this year, according to Yard.

In fact, according to @CelebrityJets, Twitter account which uses data to track private jets of celebrities, former boxer Floyd Mayweather and celebrity Kylie Jenner have used their jets for flights lasting less than 20 minutes for trips that would have taken just a few hours by car. By comparison, one of Mayweather’s 10-minute flights was produced one ton of CO2while the EPA reports that a typical car will emit 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Experts such as Colin Murphy, deputy director of the Energy, Environment and Economic Policy Institute at the University of California, Davis, Washington said Publish it is important to look at the frequency of these short trips and how often these planes carry few or no people.

“They do it in a generally less efficient way than if they were sitting in a coach seat in a 777 or one of the conventional commercial jets,” Murphy said. “What you’re doing is you’re burning many hundreds or thousands of gallons of jet fuel to save a carload of people or a few carloads of people for a few hours.”

What is the climate impact of a superyacht?

Superyachts can take a similar toll on the planet, with professors at Indiana University calling it “the worst asset to own from an environmental perspective.” in an interview with DW.

Ann analysis of the world’s top 20 billionaires found they emitted an average of 8,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2018, two-thirds of which was caused by superyachts. The yacht owned by Roman Abramovich, the billionaire who made his fortune trading oil and gas, for example, was responsible for 22,440 metric tonnes of carbon emissions this year – the same as the emissions emitted by more than 4,800 petrol cars driven in a year in USA

Read more: To survive this summer’s severe drought, California needs to learn from Cape Town’s water crisis

While many experts have pointed to the negative impact these boats can have on the climate, advocates say not enough is being done. In January, Transport & Environment released a report consideration of exemptions in the European Commission’s Green Deal. Despite measures that will seek to reduce the maritime sector’s carbon footprint, ships over 5,000 gross tons and yachts were excluded.

How has the pandemic affected these activities?

While the pandemic has sparked a wave of remote work that has isolated and devastated many, wealth inequality has widened as the world’s 500 richest people collectively they saw their wealth increase with more than $800 billion from January to October 2020 – the peak of the pandemic.

Many of the ultra-wealthy have sought to purchase luxury amenities such as yachts and private jets during the pandemic as an alternative to flying commercially.

Boat International Global Order Book 2022 Edition found a 25% increase in the number of new yachts ordered for construction, marking a third year of consistent growth of more than 1,000 boats.

“Everybody just wants freedom, and ultra-high net worth people can afford it,” Will Christie, superyacht broker, said to guard. β€œThe ability to escape anywhere is very attractive in the current climate. They think, “I don’t need to be in the office, and if you’re worth billions, why should you be?”

And this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down in the coming months. Experts say the number of first-time buyers and small businesses looking to buy private jets has increased Reuters reports.

“I think the people that we’re seeing going commercial are not going to go back to commercial,” Jamie Walker, chief executive of Jet Linx, a company that manages jets and operates private flights, told Reuters. His company has limited sales as it struggles to keep up with demand.

airlines staff shortages and cancellationsmuch of which stems from the push for early pilot retirements faced at the start of the pandemic, will surely tempt customers to seek alternatives that can be devastating to the environment.

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